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IT Job Without a Degree?

Rocketboy You're at a competitive disadvantage without (1123 comments)

30-odd years ago when I started in this profession, a degree was desired but not required. I started as a programmer trainee, advanced to programmer, programmer/analyst, lead systems analyst, was a consultant for a few years, and for the past dozen years have been the senior IT manager at a manufacturing company. I've worked in mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies. I've never gotten a degree. This is probably as far as I will go in corporate America; without an advanced degree (Masters, at least,) I'm either stuck in little companies or little jobs -- no CIO track.

Although I started on large systems, I implemented one of the first business microcomputer systems I've heard, of, a store inventory and accounting application using dual floppies (8 in.!) on an Exidy Sorcerer, running CP/M. I've been an advocate of PCs since before there were PCs, was an early networking implementor (Banyan Vines, Netware, token ring, etc.) and have kept up with my Microsoft education. I went the path of the developer certifications instead of the networking ones -- that may have been a mistake, too.

I've always gotten great performance reviews, been on the continuous education treadmill for most of those 30 years, have the respect of my peers, and have never made as much as the person next to me who had a degree. I have to fight harder for my position in meetings, simply because no matter how much experience and respect you have, people just don't respect you as much if you don't have the credentials. IBM and Microsoft certification is helpful but doesn't make up for it.

If this is your profession, get the degree. It may not seem to matter much now but over the long haul of a profession, it's definately worth it.

more than 5 years ago

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